Meditation Monday - A Legacy of Pain and Hope

I recently returned from a week long Civil Rights Pilgrimage in Alabama. It was a deeply moving experience that will take me some time to process. Today I begin that processing by reflecting on two new sites in Montgomery established by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). The Legacy Museum tells the story of African Americans from slavery, Jim Crow, lynching, and up to the current reality of mass incarceration. The National Memorial For Peace and Justice is a vivid and powerful memorial to over 4,000 victims of lynching from the 1870’s to 1950. The names of lynching victims are engraved on pillars for each county where they were killed. The combined impact of the hundreds of pillars makes it clear that racial terror was practiced throughout the country, not just in the deep south. Yet with all the pain represented in the Museum and Memorial, there is also a sense of hope. When we as individuals and as a nation are confronted with the true story of racism in our nation’s history, there is hope to repent and to find ways to heal the legacy of pain and damage suffered by the African American community. The same week of the pilgrimage, a committee of the House of Representatives held hearings on H.R. 40 authorizing a study about reparations to address this painful legacy. This will not be an easy or uncomplicated process, but it could be a significant step toward the kind of truth and reconciliation that our nation needs. In the section below, you will see some pictures from the Memorial For Peace and Justice and a video that addresses the subject of reparations. As followers of Jesus we believe that any sin, individual or collective, can be forgiven and healed through repentance and making amends whenever possible. This may be the time for our nation to finally face our original sin.